The British Valve & Actuator Association (BVAA) is coming to the end of the second year of its innovative Future Leaders Program.
“It is quite possibly the most rewarding activity of my career.” said BVAA’s Director & CEO, Rob Bartlett. “The program has had an amazing effect on all those involved in it. I believe we all instinctively knew the BVAA Future Leaders Program had terrific potential, but all my colleagues have been blown away by the successes of the first cohort, and the tremendous impact it had on the second cohort in 2017.”
What is the BVAA Future Leaders Program? (FLP)
In 2016, BVAA launched a new program specially designed to develop a small group of future leaders for the industry.
Eleven individuals were identified by their employers as having the right qualities and potential to become leaders within their own organisations. The first cohort of 11 delegates was put through a range of exercises and activities designed to help them fast track their experiences within the industry and ramp up their personal skills and knowledge. They did this without having to change employers, which in former times many valve professionals had to do to advance. Such moves are of course very disruptive for the employers, and involves a significant element of risk for the employee.
Company Knowledge-Transfer Days
The FLP comprises a series of days set at each one of the candidates’ own premises. There, the host and their colleagues educate their cohort in a particular company specialty, activity or area of excellence in which their company excels. Delegates also receive short lectures on product types, business systems, facility tours, etc., increasing substantially their understanding of the wider valve industry.
Personal Development Days
In addition to the dozen or so company days, BVAA provides the group with a series of personal development courses to help round the individuals. Because of the positive feedback from the first cohort, the breadth and depth of this element has been substantially increased for the 2017 intake. It now includes TQ psychometric testing and Attributes Wheel assessments, helping generate a composite team profile – particularly important as the group works so closely together over the year.
Guest lecturer and personal development consultant, Dr. Martin Haigh, commented, “It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege creating and delivering the learning and development interventions for the FLP. I have witnessed some amazing breakthroughs from cohort 1 and was impressed by their confident and seamless presentation at the BVAA annual general meeting.” He noted that the second group of leaders are also applying the PD principles in the workplace and making things happen.
BVAA Networking & Technical Training
Another feature is the experience days organised by BVAA at the request of the cohorts to suit their learning needs. For example, cohort 1 visited a valve casting facility to witness first-hand a valve pour, something many in the industry have waited a lifetime to see. The group also spent a day touring the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at Sheffield, UK, which included AMRC Castings, Nuclear AMRC, AMRC Design Centre, The Welding Institute, AMRC Training Centre and the inspiring AMRC ‘Factory 2050.’
At the end of the program, each cohort makes a presentation to the BVAA membership at the Association’s annual meetings. The cohorts are also encouraged to think beyond the life of the program. Rob Bartlett explained, “’You drive, we assist’ is very much part of the philosophy of the FLP. Some of the first group were very keen to extend their program to include a Level 3 Mentoring qualification, under the auspices of Institute of Leadership & Management. By working with Dr. Haigh, this was delivered in spring 2017. I’m delighted to say they finished the taught program recently and have furthermore been mentoring cohort 2 delegates as part of that course requirement.”
Barlett continued, “We are also encouraging the groups to stay connected – not just through the BVAA committee structure which several have joined and now actively participate in - but also through reunions, additional training and an alumni social networking strand. I’m sure it is a concept that could easily be repeated across industry.”
Father of the project, and newly elected BVAA Chairman Colin Findlay (Severn Unival) has the last word. “I think it is clear we are sowing the seeds of our industry’s continued success with the FLP, but many of the individuals are already enjoying significant personal career advancement. We must thank our members for giving up a lot of time and energy to the visits and in rolling out their top guns to support us. It really is what we hoped for and appreciate on these very useful days.”
The BVAA program has become so popular, the association already has a waiting list for 2018’s Cohort 3.
Headline photo is Cohort 1 with former BVAA Chairman David Millar